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Home or Money Pit: Real Estate Horrors

by Jeffrey D. Leiser

Dramatic headline, I know, but let's face it, there are just some things a person looking to buy a home should be equipped with. One such thing is the ability to spot a potential problem in a building's structure. After all, a home is a structure first and a home second.

So, what's your game plan? Are you going to be led around by the hand, simply looking at the home's decor? Or are you asking yourself questions about the plumbing, electrical and other systems? Is that sink properly vented? Are there enough electrical outlets for a room of its size? Is there a breaker box or a fuse box? 100 amps service? 150 amps? 200 amps? A million amps? Should I care, you ask?

YES! An unpowered house with safety code violations could cause serious problems, and after-purchase upgrading can run into thousands of dollars. Of course, the home owner's insurance could cover some things that might go wrong. I had a neighbor whose house was destroyed by fire because a squirrel chewed the insulation off exposed wires that serviced an outside flood light. Those wires should have been inside a metal conduit. The good news was the insurance paid for the rebuild. The bad news was they dropped her as a customer.

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Now Available! The Home Buying Inspection Guide -- a way for homeowners to preinspect houses before spending a cent or wasting valuable time!

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And what happens when the roof and/or the basement starts to leak just after closing, and when you hire a repairman you're told that it had been leaking for years? Now, we are talking real trouble, and its name is mold. This stuff is an enviromental hazard and if present in a home, it is required to be disclosed by any seller aware of its presence. In many cases, walls and ceilings have had to be chopped out to get rid of the mold. As the home buyer, do you have any legal recourse, or did you sign a disclosure waiving your right at the time of the sale?

Are you starting to get my drift? You need to know more than pink carpets and green walls don't match when going house hunting. You need some knowledge of home mechanics. Not a great deal of this knowledge, but enough to effectively head off potential trouble. Areas of concern can be easily scanned during a walk-through presentation of the property. When shown a room, notes can be jotted down under each home's address. The same is true for the outer features of a home for sale. Take note of the big concerns, like drainage, roofing, fascia, etc... and don't forget your big tree rule. When comparing your likes and dislikes in a home, make sure you include those notes of concern and the amount of money it would take to correct those problems.

Now, no house is perfect. Not even new ones! Just ask the good people of Green Jade Estates near St. Louis, Missouri. They bought their homes before they were constructed to get a better buy on the home. A couple of years later, they found their homes sliding and sinking away. The contractor had built the subdivision on unstable ground.

Now, you're thinking, "Great! Where can I get this needed knowledge?"

You could go to four years of engineering school. You could hire a home inspector to tag along every time you go out house hunting. Yikes, that'll cost a bundle!

Hey, how about a book, written in laymen's terms, that covers just about everything you should inspect, and how to inspect it, all in one easy-to-follow text. A handy checklist, included in the book, makes it easy to mark off the items that are in need of repair, replacement or professional inspection.

How about something like an "Address Check List" to help compare the properties that you have seen with others you're interested in seeing? Believe me, after looking at more than three to four homes for sale, you'll start to get a little punchy, not to mention forgetful, as to what house had which feature.

I wrote "The Home Buying Inspection Guide" for people just like you, who wants to know what to look for in a home, but needs help knowing what questions to ask, and where to look. The book will warn you away from properties that could cost you thousands of dollars after the sale. Also, the Inspection Guide will help you to compare several homes at a glance. You'll be able to compare building materials, structural integrity, potential mechanical problems and much more. I kept the price low, just $19.95, to make sure all home buyers could learn from it.

The book could easily save you thousands of dollars in repair costs, and help you quickly decide between several houses you are thinking about buying. Click here for more information on the Home Buying Inspection Guide.

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Jeffrey D. Leiser is author of the “Home Buying Inspection Guide? and the "You Can Sell Your House: For Sale By Owner" guidebook, Read more articles on home and garden topics in the Home Style News email newsletter. Subscribe free at http://www.ParadoxPro.com/ezine.html

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